Yesterday was the day. ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported on indiscretions within the basketball and football program. Neither walked away looking good. Since this is a basketball blog, I’ll focus on that but I can tell you, the football program is a cesspool.
The day began with Mark Hollis “retiring”. He was the AD and media darling. Unbeknownst to me and reported by Brendan Quinn of The Athletic, he was seen as a potential replacement for Diamond Jim Delany as Big 14 Commissioner. ESPN’s report was damning to Izzo’s program.
It’s been common knowledge in Michigan of Title IX investigations into the basketball program, the big one involving Keith Appling and Adreian Payne. Payne became a media sensation due to his relationship with a young girl fighting cancer. Michigan State actively pimped that relationship and story, knowing what Payne had been accused of.
No charges were filed in the case despite disturbing details that have come to light. The prosecutor who wouldn’t file, questioning the accuser of whether she could withstand questioning, now works at Michigan State. What is also remarkable, this investigation wasn’t some state secret, yet the national media ignored it completely. Think back to 2014 and all the fawning over Payne. Couple that with the constant fawning over Hollis and Izzo, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why an institution may consider itself above the law.
Since the media got more involved in what is happening in East Lansing, they’ve been met with defiance and insolence. The school president and AD have since “retired” after initially being defiant. Where this new scrutiny leads in regards to Tom Izzo, we don’t know. But outside the bubble of East Lansing, it seems unlikely we’ll see much in the way of the “Izzo is March” fluff that permeates come tourney time. My only hope is, if they are successful in March and they damn well could be, we aren’t inundated with nonsensical stories of healing in the Michigan State community. Winning basketball games doesn’t heal sexual abuse or correct a culture of negligence towards it.